Editio princeps  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
oldest surviving manuscript of Latin poetry

In classical scholarship, editio princeps is a term of art. It means, roughly, the first printed edition of a work, that previously had existed only in manuscripts, which were therefore circulated only after being copied by hand.

For example, the editio princeps of Homer is that of Demetrius Chalcondyles, now thought to be from 1488. The most important texts of classical Greek and Roman authors were for the most part produced in editiones principes in the years on either side of 1500.

The picture is complicated by the possibilities of partial publication, of publication first in translation (for example from Greek to Latin), and of a usage that simply equates with first edition. For a work, such as Piers Plowman, with several strands of manuscript tradition that have diverged, it is a less meaningful concept.

The term has long been extended by scholars to works not part of the Ancient Greek and Latin literatures. It is also used for legal works, and other significant documents.


List to 1500 (incunabula, incomplete)

Date Author, Work Printer (or location) Comment
1455 Bible (Latin) Johannes Gutenberg, Mainz Biblia Sacra Vulgata, 2 editions: 42 line and 36 line, see Gutenberg Bible.
1465 Cicero, De officiis Mainz
1469 Apuleius Sweynheym and Pannartz
Livy Rome Books 1-10, 21-32, 34-39.<ref>Gian Biagio Conte, Latin Literature: A History (1999 translation), p. 375.</ref>
Lucan Sweynheym and Pannartz
Virgil Rome
Caesar, De Bello Gallico Rome
Pliny the Elder Johannes de Spira
c.1469 Aulus Gellius Sweynheym and Pannartz
1470 Sallust<ref>http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Sallust</ref>
Suetonius, De Vita Caesarum Rome Edited by Giannantonio Campano
?1468-1470 Tacitus Venice<ref>http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/tacitus/index.htm</ref>
1471 Ovid
1471 Pomponius Mela, De Chorographia libri tres Milan, Antonius Zarotus<ref>http://www.fh-augsburg.de/~harsch/Chronologia/Lspost01/Pomponius/pom_f.html</ref>
1472 Diodorus Siculus Poggio Bracciolini partial Latin translation; complete edition 1559<ref>http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Diodorus_Siculus</ref>
Cato Maior, De Agri Cultura Venice, Nicolaus Jensonus Edited by Georgius Merula
Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae
Varro, Rerum Rusticarum libri tres Venezia Nicolaus Jensonus Edited by Georgius Merula in the same volume as the above.
1473 Lucretius Brescia
c.1473 Marcus Manilius, Astronomicon Regiomontanus
1474 Valerius Flaccus Bologna<ref>http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Gaius_Valerius_Flaccus</ref>
1475 Historia Augusta
1478 Aulus Cornelius Celsus
1482 Horatius Firenze
c. 1483 Tertullian Complex history<ref>Tertullian : Early Printed Editions, Translations and Studies</ref>
c.1484 Serenus Sammonicus Sulpitius Verulanus
1488 Avienus
Homer Demetrius Chalcondyles
c.1493 Hesiod, Works and Days Demetrius Chalcondyles
1493 Isocrates Demetrius Chalcondyles
1495-1498 Aristotle Aldus Manutius<ref>http://www.nls.uk/collections/rarebooks/collections/aldus_manutius.html</ref>
1496 Apollonius of Rhodes
Lucian Florence<ref>http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Lucian_(Satirist)</ref>
1497 Terentianus<ref>http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Textual_Criticism</ref>
1498 Aristophanes Aldine Press
1499 Alciphron
Martianus Capella Vicenza, F. Vitalis Bodianus<ref>http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Martianus_Minneus_Felix_Capella</ref>

From 1501 to 1600

Date Author, Work Printer (or location) Comment
1502 Sophocles
1503 Euripides Aldine Press
1504 Quintus Smyrnaeus Aldus Manutius
1513 Lysias Aldus Manutius
1513 Lycophron Aldus Manutius
Plato Venice, Aldine Press<ref> Frederick James Eugene Woodbridge, The Son of Apollo: Themes of Plato (1972), p. 32.</ref>
1515 Jordanes, Romana Konrad Peutinger
1516 New Testament (Greek) Desiderius Erasmus, Basel 2nd ed. 1519, 3rd ed. 1522, see Textus Receptus.
1518 Aeschylus Aldine Press
1520 Marcus Velleius Paterculus Beatus Rhenanus<ref>http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/excat/berlin/classica.html</ref>
1520 Rutilius Claudius Namatianus J. B. Pius
1520 Septuagint Complutensian Polyglot Bible
1520-3 Talmud Daniel Bomberg, Venice
1524–25 Bible (Hebrew) Daniel Bomberg, Venice Edition included masoretic notes, Aramaic targums and Rashi's commentary, see Mikraot Gedolot.
1525 Galen Venice, Aldine<ref>http://www.bium.univ-paris5.fr/histmed/medica/galien_va.htm</ref>
1526 Irenaeus Erasmus, Basel<ref>Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, page 620 (v. 2)</ref>
1527 Philo (Latin) Sichardus first part published by Iustianus (1520)<ref>David T. Runia, Philo in Early Christian Literature: A Survey</ref>
1533 Diogenes Laertius Basel, Froben Complete Greek text<ref>http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/manuscripts/diogenes_laertius.htm</ref>
Euclid, Elements Simon Grynäus
1544 Sozomen Robert Estienne
1544 Josephus Hieronymus Froben Edited by Arnoldus Arlenius; first Greek edition
1552 Philo (Greek) Turnebus for works only extant in Latin mss see 1527, works only in Armenian Aucher (1822–26)
1549 Optatus of Milevis Johannes Cochlaeus, F. Behem<ref>http://ancientlibrary.com/smith-bio/2373.html</ref> Mainz; 7th book printed 1569<ref>http://www.forum-hes.nl/forum/main_stocklist.phtml/subject/85/1/Africa.html</ref>
1553 Synesius Adrianus Turnebus
1558 Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Xylander
1562 Sextus Empiricus Geneva Latin translation of Sextus's "Outlines", published by Henricus Stephanus, followed by a complete Latin Sextus with Gentian Hervet as translator in 1569.<ref>Richard Popkin (editor), History of Western Philosophy (1998) p. 330.</ref> Petrus and Jacobus Chouet published the Greek text for the first time in 1621.
Sefer Yetzirah
1569 Nonnus
1572 Plutarch Henri Estienne<ref>http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Plutarch_(Biographer)</ref>
1575 Diophantus Xylander
1583 Martyrologium romanum
1598 Longus

From 1601

Date Author, Work Printer (or location) Comment
1615 Laonicus Chalcondyles J. B. Baumbach
1644 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle Abraham Wheelocke<ref>Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - LoveToKnow 1911</ref>
1655 Theophanes the Confessor J. Goar<ref>CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Theophanes</ref>
1661 Hippolytus, Antichrist Marquard Gude
1733 Genesius Stephan Bergler
1750 Chariton Pierre Mortier
1841 Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Trattato di Architectura Carlo Promis Promis, however, published only six of the seven books. The last book which deals with all kinds of mechanical devices was omitted and subsequently escaped the notice of historians of technology for the next hundred years.<ref>Ladislao Reti, “Francesco di Giorgio Martini's Treatise on Engineering and Its Plagiarists”, Technology and Culture, Vol. 4, No. 3. (Summer, 1963), pp. 287-298 (288)</ref>
1850 Hypereides Churchill Babington
1897 Bacchylides F. G. Kenyon
Rigveda Max Müller

See also

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